Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How do I measure a year?

I dragged myself to the gym a couple days ago and forced myself to walk on a treadmill. I felt husky as I crawled along at a snail's pace in order to maintain any sense of a reasonable amount of breath, but oh well. At least I was there.

I read for a while as I walked and then flipped through my Ipod for a bit, trying to find a song that would make the time pass more quickly. I settled on one and enjoyed the few minutes until it faded out. And then "Seasons of Love" came on. And out of nowhere, I was totally and completely overwhelmed by what this year has brought me. Like tears streaming down my face while walking to nowhere. Like trying really hard to keep from shifting into "the ugly cry". Luckily I go to this new and oddly trendy gym (in my defense, it's close to my house). In their trendiness, it's really dark in there so I don't think anyone knew I was a wreck. Also and on a complete sidenote, there's loud techno music playing all.the.time.

So why was I crying? Because it suddenly hit me all at once how much has happened in a year. This is the year that the elephant called infertility meandered into my living room with a surprising quietness, settling down next to me until I eventually noticed him. The year when my gyno checked the box "infertility" under reason for visit. The year of Clomid tears. The year when so many people I love got pregnant when I could not and I felt jealousy and even resentment at times. The year of waiting and waiting and checking and checking for my period. The year I was labeled PCOS. The year of the nearly season long cycle. The year I had to let go of the notion of conceiving a child in our bed. The year of often shutting people out. The year of needing my husband's hugs more than ever before. The year of spending a lot of time on my couch. The year that my husband jabbed me with needles repeatedly. The year when nurses jabbed me with needles repeatedly. The year when sometimes people said the completely wrong thing to me about my infertility. The year when some people said just the right thing about my infertility. The year of seeing one pink line. The year of endless doctor's office copays. The year I questioned if I am meant to be a mom. The year of shedding tears of self pity. The year of often feeling like a failure. The year I met so many of my wonderful, infertile sisters who bless my life in ways they don't even know. The year of shedding tears for those infertile sisters' struggles and losses.

But this is also the year my husband and I battled our way through infertility. The year when I saw two pink lines and was so baffled I didn't even celebrate. The year that I got to videotape the moment my husband saw 10 pink lines, 2 for each of the 5 tests all lined up, and did celebrate. The year I had searing hyperstimulation pains that I was sure were a miscarriage. The year the hyperstimulation resulted in 3 weeks of bedrest. The year I struggled to find my niche among other women with my new label of infertile but pregnant. The year I cried tears of joy as many of my infertile sisters climbed over the invisible infertility wall with me. The year I got the bag of samples for the mommies-to-be. The year my body seems to be changing at the speed of light. The year we rushed to the ER when I was bleeding. The year we got the call that there was a problem with our ultrasound. The year that we got the news that we're having a boy. The year that my son is kicking me from me the inside out. The year that my husband got to feel the baby kick. The year that we became a mom and a dad. This is the year we made it to the other side and, honestly, after more than 21 weeks on the other side, it still often does seem real to me.

This was my year...of infertility and so much more. What a year it's been.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I'm halfway there

140 days to go! Actually, if you want to get really technical, I'm only 19 weeks and 6 days in this shot, but I'm figuring you'll let me slide. I've gotten quite a bit larger since the 17 week pic. And most of that growing happened in the span of one night. One morning shortly after I took the pic, I woke up and realized I had grown overnight. My boobs got bigger, my bump got bigger. It literally happened overnight. It was bizarre.

This is me earlier in the day.....

And this is me later that same night. I grow so much as the day goes on. That's another part of pregnancy that I find so odd. You wake up kinda small and you go to bed quite large and then (except for that one night where I magically grew a lot) you wake up smaller again.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Best Christmas gift ever!

Joe and I returned from our Level II ultrasound with amazing news! Not only were there no other abnormalities found, but the cyst disappeared! We are very surprised that it's gone but thrilled with the news of a completely normal ultrasound of a healthy baby! Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers....we appreciate it more than we can ever express in words.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

So this is where parenthood starts to get scary

Early last week, we got a stressful voicemail on my cell phone. It went something like this:

"Hi Jacki. This is Dr. Bumble (the OB). I need you to call me back today about your ultrasound. I will also try to reach you at work, but I know you said it's hard to reach you there. When you get this message, call me back. If I'm not available, I will be sure to leave your file with the nurses."

Sound the alarm! Emergency! Red alert! There's a problem with the ultrasound! I had called the week before to check on my ultrasound report at which point a nurse told me their office hadn't received it yet and they would only call me if something was wrong. She was very emphatic about the fact that they would only pick up the phone if there was a problem. Now, a week later, I had settled comfortably into the idea that there were no problems. And then this stupid message arrives in my voice mailbox.

In a panic, I immediately call the OB's office to receive this message: "Our office is closed for the day. Please call back during our normal office hourse." Are you ready for this? The office had closed 18 minutes ago. Now what? Do I call the on-call doc? No, he won't have my file at home. But what if it's Dr. Bumble on call? She would probably remember what's wrong with the ultrasound. What if someone is still at the office, finishing up paperwork and they could check my file? Hell, the night time janitor can tell me the problem, so long as someone tells me the problem tonight! Waiting until tomorrow is not an option I can fathom.

Thank God for an amazing on-call service. I have to say that I love my OB office. You often wait forever for your appointments, but they are such a wonderful staff and so supportive, especially of their pregnant patients. I big pink puffy heart them. So I call the on-call service. I open with, "I'm sorry if I am blatantly abusing the on-call service but I am freaking out and don't want to wait until morning." I explain the situation and he's so kind. He tells me he will send a message to the office with the hope that someone is still there as well as let the on-call doctor know about the situation to see if there is anything that can be done. We hang up and I wait. And wait. And wait. I guess there is nothing that can be done.

I sit in a chair for a while staring at a wall. I can't spend the entire night like this, thinking the worst when I'm not even exactly sure what the worst could be. I think back to the ultrasound. There was no moment when I saw the ultrasound tech with a traumatized face and she never gasped in horror, at least not in front of me. I take these as good signs. She had admired the great shot she got of the four chambers of his heart. Also good. So what? What could it be?

I'll call Booth Radiology! They did the ultrasound. Maybe someone can check it over and tell me what's wrong. A woman answers, I explain and she pulls up my report. She sees no notes stating that I have to come back, she makes no horrified sounds in response to my report but then states that she can't read me my report over the phone for privacy reasons. I have to come pick it up. Joe and I hop in the car, race to the radiology department and I dash in for the report. I look it over......normal...normal....normal...choroid plexus cyst on his brain....what?

As we drive home, I ponder this development. Oddly, I'm relieved even though I have no idea what a choroid plexus cyst is. Still, an answer, a name, a label is better than none. We head home and I assume my position at the computer as webMD, Google extraordinaire, Dr. Jaguar. The white lab coat and stethoscope casually thrown around my neck make the whole thing much more official.

The first article I click on allays most of my fears. A choroid plexus cyst is a cyst on the baby's brain that usually appears during the second trimester and goes away on its own during the third trimester, causing no harm to the baby. It's like a little visitor, hanging out for a while and then leaving. These cysts are discovered in 1-3% of all pregnancies.

Little visitor...okay, I can deal with that. Granted, you weren't invited so I find you terribly rude, but whatever. However, there is one risk to the baby that increases with the discovery of the cyst: Trisomy 18. My risk for trisomy 18 prior to finding the cyst was 1 in 3,000. Now it is 1 in 300. Still really solid odds in my opinion. 300 marbles in a bag, only 1 labeled Trisomy 18 and I only have to pick one marble from the bag. I'm a mathematical person by nature. Can you tell? The logical part of my brain is fine with this idea. Still, the emotional side is not. I don't want to think about this for our baby. I really preferred the heavier bag with all 3,000 marbles.

So what now? We wait until tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Tomorrow is the big day when we go to the Perinatology department (yikes!) at the local hospital, the hospital where we plan to deliver our son, for our Level II ultrasound. A perinatologist will do the ultrasound himself and we will hear the results right then. The ultrasound was scheduled a week and a half ago and it's been impossible not to do a lot of thinking during that time. About how one ultrasound can affect a baby's entire life. About how dreams can quickly change from watching your child grow into a healthy adult to just having an opportunity to meet him and hear his little cry, watch his little chest rise and fall. And while I know all of the odds are still immensely in our favor, that one little marble out of 300 scares me in ways I can't ever begin to explain.

And so my Christmas wish is simple: that a cyst is just a cyst, nothing more. If you can spare a prayer, a positive thought or some good juju, we could use it tomorrow and would greatly appreciate it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kiss of the bumblebee

I can't believe I never posted about this. I really have been so awful about blogging, it's not even funny. And have you noticed how I cheat with the dates? Because I don't want my blog to look like I post five things in one day (which is what I'm doing right now), so I tweak the dates. Tweak is a nice way to say I lie. I backdate the posts so I look like a much more diligent blogger than I really am, at least lately anyway.

Waaaaaaay back on Halloween, I spent the day trying to crush children's extreme levels of hyperactivity. My co-teacher, unbless her heart, decided to call out on one of the most stressful days to be a teacher to attend the parade celebrating the Phillies World Series win. This left me, with 27 students, attempting to teach on the day when, really, I'm just hoping the students don't burn the building down. I prayed to God several times that day to just get me past lunch time.

Here's the thing about Halloween: as stressful and exhausting as it is, it is one of my favorite days of the year, a day that I most love being a teacher. Why? Because of the Halloween parade. Because at 2:10, my students return from lunch, grab their costumes and dash to get changed. Two classes worth of girls cram into one classroom, the boys head to another and the madness begins. Some girls aren't bashful at all and in their excitement yank their outfits off and climb into their costumes. Others sheepishly hide themselves behind closet doors while I hold a coat up to block the view after swearing up and down that I won't look. There are feathers, wigs, makeup, stockings and 8 billion things that need to be tied. And the cameras. Someone is always taking a picture of someone who's all ready to go while a half-dressed 10 year old shouts that she had better not be in that shot!

From there, we head out for the parade. It never fails that I become teary eyed as I watch them walk the giant loop on display for all the parents with their cameras and camcorders lined up like paparazzi. Everyone is having so much fun, myself included. And for that little bit, they're not my students, they're just my kids. No schoolwork to do. No tests to prepare for. I love this day and wouldn't trade it for anything.

This year, I realized that a costume presented an interesting challenge. I had a very small collection of maternity wear and couldn't fit into most other stuff. What would I be? I'm one of a handful of teachers who dress up for Halloween and I was not planning on skipping it this year. So I settled on a black maternity shirt and black maternity pants. Now what? Hmmm.....I would be a road! The black would be the asphalt, masking tape would be the painted lines of the road (hence the Dollar Store theft incident) and I could use stickers for the rest. I found fire engines, construction vehicles, cars, trains, traffic signs, even little orange cones. I set to work with the road beginning at the neckline of my shirt and running all the way down to my feet. The stickers were attached. There was a full blown construction site (my husband even thought to "knock" over one of the orange cones because they're never all standing upright) and train tracks crossing over with the barrier coming down across the road. For a maternity costume, it wasn't too shabby.

Teachers with small children often bring in their own kids to walk in the parade with their class. Enter Anna, our 5th grade math teacher's kindergartener. She is adorable on a regular day, but as a bumblebee, her cuteness is unparalleled. I've only met her once or twice before and it was never for any really length of time, just a quick hello. As I leaned down to admire her costume and tell her how much I liked it, she reached for my belly and asked how the baby was. At only 13 weeks, she was one of the first to really touch my belly and acknowledge the baby in there. We chatted for a minute about how I didn't know if it was a boy or a girl and that, when I found out, I'd let her know. The whole time, she gently pet my belly, staring intently at it as though she might be able to see the baby if she looked hard enough. Then we had to separate to get to the parade.

At the very end of the day, I was walking down the hall, completely exhausted. Thanking God for a great day. Thanking God that I survived it. Thanking God for the weekend to recover from it. And who should turn the corner, but Anna the Bumblebee. Her mom and I said hello, wished each other a good weekend and continued on our paths.

Anna, however? She paused, walked over to me, ever so gently kissed my belly, looked intently up into my eyes and then rushed to catch up with her mommy. Me? I happily cried my eyes out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Finally a belly pic

I know, I've been horrible with posting pictures of my expanding waistline. In my defense, I had some from 12 weeks on saved on my camera and somehow, when Joe downloaded a bunch of the pics to the computer, several didn't make it including all of the belly pics. I'm disappointed because it had my Halloween picture as well as the first day I was wearing both a maternity shirt and maternity pants, but I'm slowly picking up the pieces and moving on.

So here you go, me at 17 weeks sans makeup and hair products, but whatever. I never promised either of those.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I tried to pay the Dollar Tree back the $1.07 I owe them for the masking tape I stole in my morning sickness, sleep deprived hysteria. The cashier's response?

"I don't care if you owe the store a dollar!"

Okay then. So, in an effort to make things right with the universe, I will donate a couple extra bucks when the next charitable opportunity presents itself.

Can you hear me, universe? I'm trying to right my wrong!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A bad day gone good

Two Saturdays ago, at 16 weeks pregnant, I started bleeding again. I went to the bathroom and when I wiped, there it was: bright, red blood and a lot of it. What scared me the most was that there were bits of something in it which I was terrified were some kind of tissue from the baby or something the baby needed. Two more wipes worth of a fair amount of blood and it's safe to say that I was completely freaking out.

I called the on-call doctor and waited for the call back, trying to settle myself enough to be able to speak coherently when he returned my call. A few minutes later when my phone rang, I was able to talk normally though in what I'm sure was an extremely stressed out tone. The doctor told me I had to go to the ER so they could be sure I wasn't dilated. Yeah, dilated. That's the part where I freaked out again sobbing.

I grabbed my husband from the yard and quick got dressed and headed to the ER. Did I mention that this was the day we were also supposed to be celebrating Thanksgiving with my family? Yeah, that would have to wait. Instead, we spent five hours at the ER. It would have been much longer but a wonderful triage nurse (who also happened to struggle with infertility) got us back into a bed. After the ups and downs of hearing various test results, the answer was that our son was fine. That's right, our son! The ultrasound tech asked if I wanted to know but I wouldn't let her tell me because Joe wasn't allowed to go into the ultrasound with me. Instead, she whispered it to the nurse who arrived to bring me back to my room so that Joe and I could hear the news together.

I left that emergency room exhausted from the stress of the day and all cried out, but grateful for the knowledge that we had our healthy, baby boy. Happy Thanksgiving to for the bleeding, the ER docs had no idea what was up with that and were just glad that it stopped.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I just found this!

I competely forgot that we took this picture. This is Joe and I at our IUI...the day the baby was conceived! I had to lay there for 10 minutes afterwards so Joe and I were in the room by ourselves taking pictures and laughing our heads off because our camera was so loud in the quiet office. We were sure the office staff could hear us through the door and were wondering what kind of pornographic things we were doing with a camera when I wasn't wearing any pants. I'm so happy to have this picture...what a gift that only infertility could give me.

Friday, December 5, 2008

All I want for Christmas.....

is a commode so I won't have to walk so far to pee in the middle of the night. Do you think Santa would bring me one? I'm even willing to go sit on his lap in the mall and ask for it oh so politely if it means there is even a remote possibility that I will find one by my tree on Christmas day.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pregnancy should require a passport...

because it's all so foreign. I don't even recognize myself. I thought I'd be so excited to see my body change when I got pregnant, but really, it's just weird. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing, but it's also really, really weird. People didn't tell me most of this stuff ahead of time. I think I may know why...a lot of it is a little gross. I'll try to leave out the grossest stuff as a courtesy to those of you who know me in real life. I don't want to supply you with visuals next time you see me.

Here are my observations (not complaints, just interesting observations that warrant recognition):

~I'll start with my breasts. They're not mine. They're someone else's that happen to currently be attached to my body. Here's the thing: they're the wrong size now. I've had the same breasts for many years and these aren't it. They're weird and large and well, foreign. And as time has marched on, they've gotten even stranger. My breasts look just like the inside of my wrists. I can see the blue of my veins on them. Not hot.

~My belly amazes me, intrigues me and baffles me. I look forward to seeing it each time I pass by a mirror and yet it still surprises me every time. That strange bump is mine. It's the darnedest thing.

~One more thing about my belly. It now has a fine layer of hair over it (normal, thank goodness). I'm a really fair skinned girl with really dark hair. I'm sure others wouldn't even notice it, but I'm really self-conscious about body hair. It makes me feel a little wookie-ish.

~There are a lot of strange things happening down there. Just a lot more...activity. Spotting and other stuff. And I'll leave it at that.

~I'm out of breath a lot. Yet I'm only 16 weeks. I read up on this and it's because the increased hormone levels relax my systems, including my respiratory system. It's amazing to me how every little thing is connected to the pregnancy. I still can't fully wrap my head around that. I didn't think I'd be out of breath until I'm much closer to the end when the baby would be squishing the rest of me.

~This week, the baby is developing pads on his or her fingertips! Holy cow! That amazes me. The baby is still so small but is developing fingerprints.

~I pee.all.the.time. It's a phenomena. Some nights, I wake up three times to pee (those are not my best nights). So much pee.

~Out of nowhere, I will become completely famished. Like violently hungry. My pregnancy hormones have not been too bad (I think Joe would agree), but when I get overly hungry, look out. I'm an instant lunatic.

~Happy things make me cry very easily. "Do you hear what I hear?" is my most favorite Christmas carol and now I cry when it comes on the radio. Why? Because I love Christmas and I love this song. It's ridiculous. I find myself laughing aloud through my tears because I realize how silly it is that I'm crying yet again from the same song. I am yet to hear the song about the Christmas shoes (do you know which one I mean?). I'm sure I'll be a sobbing wreck for that.

~I recently learned about the mucous plug. Enough said.

There are more pregnancy oddities I could speak about, but I'll leave it at that for now. I've got 24 more weeks of strange things happening....I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

::whispering because I don't want it to hear me::

but I think it's safe to say (knock wood) that my morning sickness is over. Please let me be right. It really has been a while since I've felt nauseous for no reason (besides pregnancy). Don't get me wrong, I still feel awful if I go more than three hours between snacks, but I think (and hope and pray) that the official morning sickness is done. I am now hungrier than ever. I go from a normal, pleasant human to a raving, cranky lunatic within 5 minutes if I don't eat at a reasonable time and reasonable is sometimes completely arbitrary. In my crankiness, I have no time to wait for food to be prepared (NO TIME!..THERE'S NEVER ANY TIME!!), I just want food to magically appear on its own.

P.S. If you picked up on the no time reference, you're my favorite.

Friday, November 7, 2008

WARNING: Pregnancy can impair judgement

I stole from the dollar store. It's true, I did it. And now, a week or so later, I'm still not even sorry. Oddly, I feel justified...even though I know I owe the Dollar Tree $1.07.

Preface: I'm your typical upstanding citizen. I'm friendly to customer service people, I blatantly pick up litter in front of the people who intentionally dropped it while giving them the I-hate-you face, I return items to the proper shelf when I find them on a store's floor. All around, I'm a decent person.

So, on the day before Halloween, I threw my upstanding citizenship out the Dollar Tree door and into the cool, autumn air when I stole a roll of masking tape. Here's how it all began....

I've been struggling with insomnia as a lovely side effect of my pregnancy for the past 13 weeks. It's not fun at all. I've been unable to nap during the week and randomly wake up at night for hours at a time. There's generally no real catching up on the sleep that I miss out on. On that particular Thursday morning, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and was up for the rest of the day. By 9:00 a.m., while sitting at my desk waiting for my students to arrive to start the day, I burst into tears of exhaustion while my co-teacher looked on baffled. I just couldn't even process the idea of twenty seven students that day, let alone the next day, the beloved yet dreaded by school teachers everywhere, Halloween.

My day carried on with me mostly in an exhausted stupor. The kids eventually went home, I left as well and headed to the glass store to get new panes for two of the windows in my house. I stumbled through that process and got back in the car to go buy stickers for my Halloween costume for the next day's parade at which point a slew of obscenities flew out of my mouth. I had forgotten the masking tape and mailing labels at work that I needed for my costume. Now, I would not only have to buy stickers, but the masking tape and labels as well. Damnit.

I went to Staples first. Masking tape was only available in a 4-pack for $8!!? No. I'm not paying that much for something sitting in my desk drawer at work. While in Staples, I called Joe who quickly found mailing labels to bring home from his office. Unfortunately, his office does not use masking tape. Odd, no? Staples also did not have the stickers I needed but I wasn't really expecting them to. Right around this point is when I start realizing that I have to eat. I'm starting to feel a bit nauseous. Damn having to eat every three hours.

Next stop, Dollar Tree. As I walk in, I'm stunned by the week-before-Christmas-length line. And the Christmas items on display and the many people who are actually purchasing them. What the hell? I've fast forwarded to December 20th. Maybe the line will be down by the time I have to pay. I find my roll of masking tape but no stickers, which means I still have to drive to the craft store two towns over. Damnit.

Done shopping, I head up to the front of the store only to find that the line is still just as long as when I arrived. I cannot bear the idea of standing in that line. It is so long, I am so tired and I feel like crap. I stall, thinking that if I wander the store for a couple minutes the line will go down. Doesn't work.

And then it hits me.

I have to steal the tape.

I have no other even slightly reasonable options. I need the tape for my costume. I would like to throw up. My eyes are half closed. The line is not even a choice to me right then. I am going to steal the tape.

Right at this moment, my phone rings. I pick up and it's one of my good friends.

"Hey, Jacki! What are you doing?"

I throw the tape in my bag and head out the door.

"Stealing a roll of tape from the dollar store," I whisper into the phone. The sound of her dying laughing on the other end of the line makes me erupt into giggles. And I begin telling her the story of why, even though I have money sitting in my purse, it was completely and totally reasonable that I took the tape.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Easy Silence

I've entered into this odd, almost Zen-like stage of queasy, sleepy quietness. Simply put, I don't have much to say. I've witnessed this with many other infertiles' blogs. In the depths of my own infertility, I couldn't imagine having nothing to say. I was astounded that these women could lapse into silence. How am I no longer privy to their innermost thoughts, especially at a time when I want to share in their joy? Embrace their celebrations?

And yet, here I am...or not, essentially. It seems I've got nothing but crickets in my blog lately.

I've spend a lot of time analyzing this. Why so quiet, Jacki Jaguar? I haven't really pinpointed any solid answer yet, but I have a few ideas bouncing around.

1) I'm pretty damn tired. Once I'm done work, I'm generally useless for the rest of the day.

2) My thoughts are so disjointed lately. In my infertility, I recognized so many poignant moments, snapshots that captured my thoughts and feelings perfectly. Something would happen and right in the thick of the moment, my main thought would be: I have to write about this. But now, now things are different. I'm still working on wrapping my head around this pregnancy, still processing that I've crossed this enormous hurdle in my life. It's like I can't get my own thoughts together even in my head, let along type out anything remotely cohesive.

And so, I guess I'm asking you to bear with me. I'll be back with something funny or heartwarming or just plain sad at some point, but that point just isn't right now.

Here's some other quick follow up stuff:

~ I didn't keep the dog who went to crappy counselor therapy with me. I found Brownie's owners and he was happily reunited with them later that same day.

~ I did not go back to crappy Beverly for more crappy counseling and I did speak with the intake counselor about the fact that Beverly is not your go-to girl for all things infertile, or anything infertile for that matter. Beverly will however always have a small but special place in my heart as a fellow dog lover.

~ Sadly, my co-teacher's IVF was not successful. And so now, we're gradually making our way through dealing with my pregnancy, in some ways together and in some ways on our own.

Last but not least, this week is INFERTILITY AWARENESS WEEK (October 19-25). Spread the word, you just may change someone's world for the better.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Late but still sobbing

I heard this song on the radio a few weeks ago and I feel like it's speaking directly to me about my infertility. Every time I hear it, it brings me right back to where I was ten weeks ago, not yet pregnant and feeling so lost. I can't listen to this song without tears.

Broken by Lifehouse
The Broken clock is a comfort
It helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow
From stealing all my time

And I am here still waiting
Though I still have my doubts
I am damaged at best
Like you've already figured out

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart
That's still beating
In the pain, there is healing
In your name, I find meaning
So I'm holding on, I'm barely holding on to you

The broken locks were a warning
You got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded
I'm an open book instead

And I still see your reflection
Inside of my eyes
That are looking for purpose
They're still looking for life

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart
That's still beating
In the pain, is there healing
In your name, I find meaning
So I'm holding on, I'm barely holding on to you

I'm hanging on another day
Just to see what, you will throw my way
And I'm hanging on, to the words you say
You said that I will, will be okay

The broken light on the freeway
Left me here alone
I may have lost my way now
But I haven't forgotten my way home

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart
That's still beating
In the pain , there is healing
In your name, I find meaning
So I'm holding on, barely holding on to you

I think of a million different things when I hear it. The barely holding on to your day to day life, like how some days you're just going through the motions. And the idea that you feel like this huge part of you has died but you're still here, walking and talking like everything is fine. But also about how we hurt and heal and hurt again. We do gain things along our journey; strength, endurance, empathy. We change, hopefully for the better in the end.

And we wonder, where's God in this whole thing? Is He around and what's He doing? Is this part of His plan or is just He riding this out with us, His arm around our shoulders? And in our darkest moments, many of us wonder where He is at all.

I know this song is talking about holding on to our faith, but I also think of us holding on to our spouses. Our marriages face such huge challenges through infertility. We jump hurdles over and over, only to face more. And sometimes, we're barely holding on to each other because we're so consumed in our own grief.

And so, I guess this post is for my infertile sisters, especially my 6+ nesties. I love you, guys and you're never far from my thoughts.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The leaf turns

and I finally begin to truly let her in. The spotting has stopped. My fear piece of pregnancy seems to have settled down. I still have a wave of 'what if' panic on the way to an ultrasound but I'm pretty sure that's normal. I'm starting to look forward.

I'm in the eighth week of my pregnancy and the super news is that I'm back to work! I went back on Monday on limited activity...sitting as much as possible, no lifting or twisting. This coming week, I won't officially be on limited activity but still have to try to take it easy for one more week. My right ovary at last check was still ten centimeters but the RE seems to feel I've turned the corner. He kicked me out! I'm officially an obstetrician only girl.

Work this week was...a whole new definition of exhausting. A friend was asking me what it's like and I responded that it feels like I'm coming down with something all the time. Like you will probably have to call out of work the next day, but you won't because you're pregnant, not sick. From the moment the alarm goes off, I'm beat. When my mom and I were discussing this, she reassured me that it will only be like this for another month or so. That concept is too overwhelming. At this point I try not to look past tomorrow when I think about work. Still, it's so great to not be stuck on my recliner anymore. It was a crazy, hectic, busy week, but I'm so grateful to be back at work.

My morning sickness seems a bit better now that I'm back on my feet. I definitely have to eat every couple hours and it's worse at night, but smells are no longer bothering me all day long and I'm not having as many food aversions. I think being busy helps because I'm not just laying here thinking about how I feel nauseaus. Currently, my body is not so impressed with the idea of sleeping though it craves it more than anything. You know when you're tired but not sleepy? That's me. I try to nap after work and stare at the ceiling. I go to bed early but remain awake. I randomly wake up in the middle of the night for an hour or two at a time. Good times.

You know what is funny about pregnancy? Everything makes me cry. Things that fertile women do without a second thought leaves me sobbing. At my first OB appointment, the nurse brought me this big baby-decorated bag filled with samples and pamphlets. My response? Crying. Why? Because I get a bag. Not every other women in the office while I leave with some sh!t pamphlet on PCOS or alcohol swabs for my injections. I get the bag. These moments are milestones for me where other women don't even recognize the significance. And you know what? Those moments make me appreciate where I've come from. The long journey makes you so grateful for where you are.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Remember to breathe

I will be seven weeks pregnant tomorrow. I've seen the heartbeat, heard the heartbeat and had my first OB appointment. So when will I let myself begin to feel, celebrate and embrace this pregnancy?

The truth is, I've been terrified to acknowledge this baby. Even typing "this baby" feels uncomfortable to me. Because I'm...scared. Of getting to know and love this baby and then lose her. Yeah, I've been calling it her the last few days.

Last week, my husband was leaning over me as I lay in the recliner (like always). He kissed me and then lifted my shirt a bit, kissed my belly and said hello to the baby. And you know what my first reaction was? To tense up. How f*cked up is that? Because I'm so scared of losing her that I don't want to get too comfortable with her. I don't want to let her in and then have her be gone one day. My beautiful child, my dream, slipping right through my fingers.

People have been asking me all the time, "Are you so excited?" And I say yes, but in my head my response is no. Not yet. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like this pregnancy is too good to be true. Like I've spent so much time and energy in my infertile shoes that I'm scared that they truly are the pair I'm meant to walk through life in.

I've spotted five times in the last couple weeks. Two more if you include the fact that my cervix is bleeding from my OB appointment. The doctor tells me everything looks fine but the bleeding certainly doesn't help me embrace hope or excitement.


I'm beginning to let her in, a bit, here and there. Sometimes, I immediately kick her right back out, but at least I'm peeking out the door through the crack rather than barricading myself behind it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fast forward

The day that started off with a faint line ended with four more very distinct positive pregnancy tests, two dollar store and two digitals. Honestly, I still didn't know if I should celebrate because I felt like I needed a doctor to tell me it was real. But I did feel it was time to tell Mr. Jaguar. Initially, I debated waiting until I was certain but I didn't want to leave him out of a day like today.

I had to stop at three different Hallmark stores in search of my treasure. I hadn't purchased it before because, well, I didn't want to jinx myself. At that point, I only had the three positive dollar store tests and it hit me that I wasn't sure if the husband knew that two lines means pregnant, so I grabbed a three pack of digitals on my route. I raced to beat my husband home and get everything situated.

Mr. Jaguar arrived home right on schedule. I was ready with the camera behind my back set to record video. Now I just wait, right? He'll head into the bathroom at some point. Nope. I continued waiting. We made small talk. Nothing. Finally, I blurted out, "I think the toilet's leaking." That'll get him to the bathroom stat, right? Wrong! He still hemmed and hawwed, browsing through the mail.

"I don't know. Maybe it's not the toilet. I can't tell where the water is coming from but it's definitely coming from somewhere." Still nothing.

Finally, he headed for the toilet to investigate. Breezed right past the bathroom counter without noticing my little display.

"I don't see any water. Where's it coming from?"

"I think it's behind you." At this point, he noticed the counter and the camera in my hand simultaneously. He started laughing, I started laughing and he leaned in to investigate. Five positive tests all lined up with the pregnant Willow Tree figurine standing watch over them.

It was a great moment. I'm thrilled that I have it on video.

Fast forward to Friday. My abdomen had been having small, crampy pains all week, like little pulls and pinches. By the end of the week, it was significant enough to call the doctor's office and check in. At the point of our IUI, my one ovary had been enlarged but I wasn't officially labeled as having ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. I'd been close, but not official. The doctor had informed me that, if I did in fact get pregnant this cycle, my ovaries were going to get worse before they got better. So on Friday when the pain was a bit worse, the doctor fit me in on my lunch break and labeled me "a little hyperstimulated". My ovary had increased in size but things weren't in any kind of danger zone yet. The doctor told me to do a weekend of bed rest, measure how much I drink and pee and no lifting. After that, return to work but take it easy. Try to sit as much as possible, limit crouching and bending, relax when I get home. Okee dokee. I'm on it.

After a weekend of rest, I returned to work, carefully navigating my way through my job and students and taking it as easy as possible. I made it through Wednesday.

Thursday morning, I woke up at 4:50 to pee. As I headed back to my bedroom, I had a searing pain through my abdomen. I can't even explain how much it hurt. It didn't drop me to the ground but it left me holding myself up in the doorway trying to breathe through the pain. After about thirty seconds, the pain hadn't really lessened up much but I knew I couldn't stay there. I gingerly made my way to the bed. The RE had told me sharp pains are normal if they're quick, but if a pain lasts more than twenty minutes to call. Let the clock watching begin. I woke Mr. Jaguar. I was so scared it was a miscarriage. I couldn't imagine that a pain this awful could be no big deal. I started to cry but my diaphragm catching made the pain so much worse and I had to force the tears to stop.

At the twenty minute mark (5:11), I called the on call service and left a message. At 5:30, the doc called me back. I explained everything. What do I do? My options were to go to the emergency room now or to take some Tylenol and wait the hour and a half until the office opens. I would probably be seen quicker in the RE's office and could wait this out in my bed rather than an uncomfortable, waiting room chair. I chose my bed.

After an hour, I actually managed to doze off for a bit. Mr. Jaguar woke me and I struggled into clothes and made my way downstairs. I looked like hell. No two ways about it. At the doctor's office, the nurse brought me back fairly quickly. I waited for the doctor.

Here are the words you don't want to hear at the beginning of your ultrasound: "Let's try to figure out what we're looking at here."

Ummm....what??!! My insides are unrecognizable??!! After a moment, the doc realized that one of my ovaries was filling the entire screen. We thought it was the left one being as it was on the left side. But guess what? It was the right one on the left side and the left one had pushed itself over to the right side. They had opted to trade places and check out one another's living quarters. Both of my ovaries were measuring around nine centimeters and I had a small pocket of fluid that had collected in my uterus. How does the fluid get there? It actually oozes out of your ovaries because they are so full.

And it was official. I was to be on bedrest for the remainder of the week and two full weeks after that. My response: sobbing hysterically. All of my sick days shot in the first month of school. How would I go to OB appointments? What if I get sick? What if there are any other problems with this pregnancy? Sob....sob....sob.

I had to stay for a few minutes to get my betas done and make this pregnancy official. I waited in a chair near the waiting room, continuing to sob. The doctor noticed that I was still a wreck and I was moved to the conference room where I would "be more comfortable".

"You mean because I'm sobbing?" I asked.

The nurse looked at me with a sympathetic smile and quietly responded, "Yes."

That part was actually pretty funny.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I've been tackled

So I've been triple-tagged by Mats, Nikki and and Mrs. Blondies. I'm flattered. I love love love being tagged.

The Rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Write 6 random things about yourself.

4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.

5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.

My Randomness:

1. I can't sit near people if they're eating cottage cheese. I can't look at it, I can't watch others look at it, I just can't be near it. It makes me think about vomit.

2. I have this thing about symmetry. If I scratch one leg, I have to scratch the other to keep things "balanced". It's the same thing for the rest of my limbs, face, etc.

3. I'm constantly calculating numbers. It's a freakish habit that I've had for as long as I can remember. If a commercial is on and it posts a phone number on the screen, I add the digits, or multiply them, or combine them to make multi-digit numbers and then add those new numbers, or turn them into fractions to multiply together. Mr. Jaguar teases me because, occasionally, when we're watching TV, he'll catch me calculating in my head or I'll suddenly say "174" and he'll realize what I'm doing.

4. I can talk about candy for, like, hours. I can analyze the flavors and textures of various candies. Weigh the pros and cons of a particular sweet treat. Compare and contrast different candies. Also, Tangy Twister Mike & Ikes changed my life.

5. I think the Beatles are just okay. I try not to even say it aloud that often because people generally get all riled up about it, but really, I'm not that into the hype.

6. This one morning, I woke up and there was a tiny dead spider in my mouth. Swear to God. It was grosser than gross. I went to work, but looking back, I really think I should've called out sick for that. Eating a dead spider can't possibly be the start of an even remotely good day.

And so now I get to tag a few folks. I choose Sweet Spikette, Maya, Jackiemac, Allison, Lari, Chrys and Maye. Hope to hear from you, gals.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A change is gonna come

I started testing early. I had peed out the trigger shot within six days and honestly, peeing on sticks became a part of my morning routine. I'm economical about it. I use the dollar store tests. On Tuesday, the first day of school for teachers, at 10 days post ovulation and 11 days post IUI, I peed in my trusty cup just like most mornings. I tested in the upstairs bathroom that day (sometimes I can't make it to the downstairs bathroom and so there are tests and cups available in all of my facilities).

I collected.

I used the dropper to place my pee on the test.

I waited.

I stared.

I looked away. Y'know, because a watched pot never boils.

I stared again.

One line appeared.

Bummer. Mentally, I started thinking about what I had to do next for the day. After months of only teaching summer school where I have full permission to look like a complete scrub, I was out of practice as to how to go about my morning routine. I decided to start by cleaning up the pee test trash.

Wait a minute. Is that something? I think that's a line. I picked up the test and stared at it intensely. That's something. I squinted. I think it's definitely something. The light in my upstairs bathroom sucks a big one so I took it to the lamp on my night table which is so bright I could perform surgery under it. That is so a line. A faint line, but very much a line.

I would love to say that I cried or shrieked with joy. Thanked God. Rushed to the phone to call my husband. But I didn't. You know that face a dog makes when it hears a funny sound or sees something strange? Cocks its head to the side with that confused face? That was me. The only words out of my mouth:


I stashed the pee cup and two more pregnancy tests for the road in my purse.

Where do you start...

when so much has changed?

Honestly, I'm not sure. I'm trying to rewind, go back to the beginning. It's been tough not being able to write as I go since I've been on bedrest with no laptop. I think this could take a lot of posts....

A few weeks ago, I was driving home. I still remember exactly where I was on the road, coming around a corner and approaching a stop sign. Right at that exact moment, my own voice popped up in my head.

"I'm pregnant," it said. Quite matter of fact. Just a simple statement. Initially, I smiled and kind of let it repeat itself. I'm pregnant. I know I'm pregnant. I just am. It's not hope, it's a fact. And then my next thought arose...

What the hell??!! Knock it off! I chided myself for letting me feel and think that idea so confidently, shoving the pregnancy statement down deep under lots of other internalized bullsh!t we all carry around. Infertile people have no business thinking "I'm pregnant" thoughts so simmer down, Jacki Jaguar, simmer down.

But you know what? That little thought kept popping back up all that week, my own little private Jack-in-the-box interrupting the daily humdrum.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Briefest recap ever...

is about to start now. I'm so sorry I can't write more, but I will very soon. First of all, I can't believe I'm typing this, but I'm pregnant. It still hasn't hit me yet. I've gotten positives since Tuesday and today my beta results were 243. Next step is more betas and figuring out how many babies are in there. Yikes! Second, I'm on bedrest for the weekend and don't have a laptop (hence the brief recap). The hyperstimulation has gotten worse as a result of the pregnancy and so I'm on the couch for the weekend and hopefully to work on Monday and just taking it easy for the next few weeks. Last, I need prayers for a friend. My also infertile coteacher goes in for her beta on Monday and please pray for her positive. I can't even think about the idea of her having to deal with bad infertility days while stuck in a room with a pregnant woman. Please pray that she and I get to walk this journey together. Promise I'll write more soon.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm crazy....just like you

After my disappointing appointment with Beverly, I went through the piles on my desk and dug out the list of counselors covered by my insurance. So many of the names were from Beverly's practice. Hmm...what to do what to do. I decided to call Linda, the psychological gatekeeper who matched me up with Beverly in the first place.

Damn. Voicemail. "Hi, Linda. This is Jacki Jaguar, I met with you about two weeks ago to discuss finding a counselor to help me deal with my infertility. I met with Beverly and,'s just...I think...could you just call me back, please? I'd appreciate it. My number is 555-3333. Thanks."

What did I want to tell Linda exactly? My first idea was to ask her if she's sure she doesn't have any openings to meet with her since I felt so comfortable during my first meeting. My second thought was to ask her why she felt Beverly and I would be a good match. My third thought was to ask her if she could match me with someone else because Beverly and I weren't going to work out. My fourth thought was to tell Linda that Beverly is probably not the best person to refer infertile women to in the future because she makes douchey remarks.

I figured I'd ponder those choices while waiting for Linda to return my call. I studied the list further. There was another practice where I was covered to see several of the counselors. Let me call them. A woman's voice quickly greeted me.

"Hi, my name is Jacki. I'm wondering if you have anyone at your practice who deals with infertility?"

" We don't have anyone who specializes in infertility. They all deal with general issues. Sorry, take care."

That was abrupt. Fine then. I didn't want to come to your dumb office anyway. I cross that practice off the list. With both of the large practices x'd out, the once very long list has dwindled significantly. I notice one name whose office is right nearby, close to work, close to home. In fact, it's in the middle of the two. I dial the number and am immediately kicked into voicemail.

"Hi, my name is Jacki. I'm trying to find a counselor who deals with infertility. If you could please call me back at 555-3333, I'd appreciate it. Thanks and have a good day."

I hung up the phone thinking that it probably wouldn't pan out but at least I did something today in my effort to find a counselor. Not much, but something. I spent much of the remainder of Wednesday thinking about this counseling thing. What am I looking for in a counselor? First, I want someone who "gets" it, meaning that they understand that it's a very stressful thing to deal with and that it's a medical condition. Someone who won't break the standard rules of speaking to an infertile. But as the day goes on, I realize there's more that I want. Not need, but want. I want someone who I don't have to explain the basics of infertility to. Like with both Linda and Beverly and with other randoms docs like my primary and the rheumatologist, as we discussed my infertility, I had to teach Infertility 101 as I explained how I'm doing with it. Simple stuff, like how Clomid works and the purpose of injectables and what PCOS is. Don't get me wrong, I love that they ask so that they can understand, but the truth is I do that all the time with regular people. And, generally, I like it. I like that people want to understand what I'm going through and I want to talk to others about it. The more it's talked about, the less the stigma that society places on it. But for just one hour every week or two, I would love to not have to explain it. To have that whole sixty minutes be devoted to me, how I'm dealing with my infertility rather than waste any of that precious time informing the doctor of how infertility works.

On Thursday afternoon, as I lie around in an effort to convince my ovaries to stop aching, the phone rings. It's Jennifer, the counselor I left a message for.

Her: Hi, this is Jennifer Longlastname. I'm calling for Jacki Jaguar.

Me: This is she.

Her: Hi. I got your message yesterday. So I understand you're dealing with infertility?

Me: Yeah.

Her: I'm so sorry.

Me: (thinking: I love you.) Thanks. I'm just hoping that I can find someone to help me deal with it. I saw someone yesterday, but she's not going to work out so I'm looking for someone else.

Her: Well, I don't specialize in infertility if that's what you're looking for.

Me: I don't necessarily need someone who specializes in it. I just need someone who "gets" it, who understands that it's a medical condition and won't say stupid stuff like, "If you adopt, you'll get pregnant".

Her: Is that what the other counselor said to you?!

Me: Yeah, along with comments about how I need to relax. I'm looking for someone who won't say that kind of stuff.

Her: I can't believe a counselor said all that. That's not helpful at all.

Me: Yeah. I agree. this point, she starts to stumble along a bit, like she's unsure what to say.

Her: Well...I don't specialize in infertility, but...I could still talk with you... if you like...because...well...umm...

Me: (thinking: Is this woman okay? What the hell?)

Her: It's just that...well, I'm not really supposed to say this, but...I dealt with my own infertility before I had my first child.

Me: (thinking: SHUT UP!? No way!) Really?

Her: Yeah, so while I don't specialize in it, I may be able to understand what you're going through.

Our conversation continues on for a couple minutes before we schedule an appointment. There are two things that Jennifer wants me to be aware of before I commit to meeting with her in person. One, she can't see me until September 29th. Two, she is 24 weeks pregnant with her second child. She was very sensitive about her pregnancy, completely understanding that I may not want to see her because of the blatant bump that would be in the room as we'd discuss the lack of my own. I think about it for a moment and book the 29th. After we scheduled, she stayed on the phone with me for ten or fifteen minutes just talking about how I'm doing with everything and where Mr. Jaguar and I are in our treatment plan right now. It was awesome.

I got off the phone and immediately burst into tears of relief. God handed me exactly what I needed and even threw a hopeful, little bump into the mix.

"Thanks, God," I said aloud.

There's one thing I did differently this cycle. This cycle...where the meds have worked, where FertilityFriend gave me crosshairs, where I'll finally measure my luteal phase and where we got to do an IUI. I always wear my Common Thread bracelet but at the beginning of this cycle, I made myself a new one. Instead of the plain or beaded one I normally wear, this one has a small nameplate charm across the front of it. The charm is engraved with a single word.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Do these ovaries make me look fat?

I have Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.

The good news is it's very, very mild.

The bad news is I continue to be on limited activity. I still have abdominal pain and bloating.

There's one main thing I have to prevent with OHSS: twisting an ovary. So I have to be careful not to twist my torso. Your ovaries flip back and forth regularly and it's no big deal. However, if your ovary is very enlarged as my right one in particular is, it can flip, flip again and then it cuts off its own blood supply.

At the RE today, when we confirmed all this, Dr. PacMan told me to call if I have severe abdominal pain. Being an overplanner, I ask, "What's considered severe?" Y'know, there's a wide spectrum for pain and I just want to make sure I don't screw this up.

The nurse responds, "The pain will make you drop to your knees."

"Well, that's pretty clear. I don't think I'll miss that," I answer.

Later, as the nurse and I are chatting, she says that the pain would be so bad, I would be on the ground and either unable to speak or screaming. What the f#ck?!

Allrighty then. Consider me on the lookout for severe pain.

Oh, and one more not so great aspect of OHSS. If you have it and get pregnant, the abdominal pain will get worse before it gets better. Right on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I only like you as a friend

Yesterday, after summer school, I puttered around in my classroom for a while, unpacking bits and pieces of stuff. One of my grade partners moved a filing cabinet for me since I'm on restricted activity until my ovaries settle down (they still hurt). I had the very important job of opening the doors for him as he blindly made the trek, a giant metal cabinet obscuring his view. I had intentions of accomplishing a lot today but mostly I just walked around and socialized with friends that I haven't seen all summer. I'm really good at that. Procrastination, I mean. For the first time, I felt some enthusiasm for the school year to start. Having worked all summer, I haven't had much anticipation for September but today I realized how much I missed everybody. I hadn't realized how often I was alone this summer.

Shortly after noon, I left to grab a slice of pizza before my first appointment with my new therapist, Beverly. I left the pizza place with only twenty minutes to get there which was plenty of time. As I came around a curve, there was a dog further up the road but in my path. I slowed as did the truck in front of me. This dog was happily trotting down a road that has no shoulder and a forty mile per hour speed limit! Yikes. By the time, I pulled over and got out of my car, he was pretty far away, but turned his head toward me at my second shout. Then he happily trotted back to me. He reminded me of the dog in Annie. A mutt, kinda ratty, super cute and happy as can be. This sweet dog came right up to me, let me pick him up and I put him in the car.

Umm, now what? I have fifteen minutes to get to the appointment. What do I do with this dog? I can't wait around for animal control (nor do I want to because you're just so darn cute, aren't you, aren't you, yes you are!), I don't have time to drop him at my house and make it back to counseling on time, I have no idea where the police station is. Hmm....I ask the dog what we should do. He doesn't have any ideas.

I don't want to call Beverly and cancel on such short notice. That would be rude and I could still be charged. I decide that I will drive to therapy, explain the situation to Beverly and let her decide how to handle the therapy appointment. At least if I end up having to cancel, she'll know I wasn't lying about this random dog appearing in the road. I (we) arrive at the office. Do I just carry him in? Am I allowed? Will I be like those annoying people who carry their dumb little rat dogs around everywhere? I leave the air conditioner on, put on the emergency brake, give the dog a quick safety lecture and run inside. Beverly greets me and I explain the situation. Guess what? The dog gets to come to counseling! What a hoot!

This is going to sound critical but I have concerns about Beverly within the first five minutes. For one, she's quite old. Now I'm not geriatric phobic but I'm not sure how well the elderly will relate to my infertility. Two, she strongly reminds me of my mom and that is not a good thing from a counseling standpoint. She just doesn't seem like my type. I chide myself. Be open, Jacki. Maybe she will understand more than you can possibly imagine. Linda selected her as your conselor for a reason. And, besides, she likes animals! You love animals!

About five minutes after I scold myself, Beverly says this about my infertility: "You really can't stress about getting pregnant. Stress can prevent pregnancy. I can't tell you how many couples adopt, they don't have that stress anymore, and then they get pregnant. I can't tell you how many times I've seen that happen."

Personal foul. Flag on the field. This woman just used forbidden phrase #2 of speaking to infertiles: Just adopt and you'll get pregnant.

I stare at the clock, counting down the minutes until I can throw $20 at this woman and run for the door with my little dog in tow. The conversation continues. Honestly, it was awful. The longest hour of my life. Thank God the dog was there. The chat was filled with painfully long, awkward pauses that I felt compelled to fill. By the end, I would just nod and smile and say, "So yeah....that's all" or "Yup...that's my answer." The whole thing could've been a Seinfeld episode.

Later, she refers to my infertility as "my problem" and I can't articulate why, but it irritated the sh!t out of me when I thought about it later. It felt as though she was making light of it the entire hour. Beverely definitely felt that I wasn't getting pregnant because I was too stressed about it and if I relaxed more, I'd be fine (forbidden phrase #1 of talking to infertiles: You really need to relax or any variation of said phrase). At one point, I informed her that relaxing will not cause me to ovulate. Medication will because I have a medical condition. Also, it seemed as though she hadn't read the notes that Linda had provided her with because she should've known that. As I've thought more about that appointment since then, she didn't seem comfortable talking about my infertility and would just move on to other topics. Real f#ckin' useful.

We left with me scheduling an appointment for a few weeks from now that I have every intention of canceling. I just didn't want to have to break up with her in person. It's not like we were serious. It was only one date. I can do that over the phone.

I'm making the dog split the co-pay with me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Peeing in cups and things looking up excuse to pee on stuff!

Mr. Jaguar gave me my shot of Ovidrel on Wednesday night to trigger ovulation for the IUI. The Ovidrel also gives you a false positive on a pregnancy test until it is completely out of your system, so..........

I get to pee on sticks every day! You can "pee out" the trigger shot. I started this past Friday and have been peeing on sticks every day since. They've been clearly positive up until yesterday where it was barely positive. Today, I couldn't even really decide if it was there or not, so the Ovidrel is almost out of my system entirely. Once it's negative, any postive result after that is considered a true positive.

Seeing the positive is awesome even if I know it's fake. It makes me so excited to see a real one.

On another note, I've been taking my temperature again this cycle. After the ovulation debacle last cycle, I want to feel more in control and aware of what my body is doing. I use which is a great site for organizing your charting information. I had been a bit stressed thinking that my chart looked all wonky even though I was medicated out the wazoo. But today, I put my temperature in and it gave me crosshairs!!! Crosshairs are these two beautiful, red lines that show up to confirm that you ovulated and let you know that you're in your luteal phase. I've never ever had crosshairs, I've never gotten to see how long my luteal phase is, I've never confirmed ovulation through charting. But now I have.

Here's my chart in case you have a burning desire to view the glorious crosshairs:

I am in awe of those two red lines. I just can't believe they're actually there and real. I've probably looked at them ten times today. Even if I don't get pregnant this cycle, I hope I'm able to hold on to the fact that I had a lot of firsts this cycle.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nerves make me dumber

The IUI is complete. It was this past Friday at 8:45 a.m. Our morning started off bright and early when I dropped off Mr. Jaguar's sample so that it could be prepped and pretty by 8:45. This is the part where I should tell you I have a ridiculously, immature sense of humor. I snort when people say sixty nine. I giggle if someone makes a reference to their "box". I died laughing a couple weeks ago when my dad was talking about his giant cucumber from the garden and how he measured it. I'm like a twelve year old boy. So there is pretty much nothing funnier to me than delivering the goods by walking into a waiting room with strangers in it. For those of you who don't know, you have to keep it at body temperature so the RE's office suggests tucking it between your breasts for its maiden voyage. I do this and giggle the whole time at the idea of getting pulled over on my way to the office and having to explain it to a police officer. When I get to the office, I take it out and carry it in both hands, as if trying to warm my hands on a hot coffee mug. And then you have to wait for the special sperm nurse to label it so you have to stand there for a few minutes with it. It's a hoot.

Later, we arrived at the RE's office together. I was...excited, nervous and quiet all at once. I was still afraid that it was too good to be true and the IUI would be cancelled at the last minute. Mr. Jaguar kept checking in on me, asking me if I was okay. It was sweet.

The nurse took us back to the exam room and started giving directions. Undress from the waist down, throw the sheet over you, sign this form. Three directions. That's it. Okie dokie. She leaves, I slip off my underoos (I wear a dress now to most of my RE appointments to save time and dignity) and grab the clipboard to start in on the forms. There are a lot of them. I read the top one over. It explains the procedure, the risks, blah blah blah, sign and date. Okay. I slide the form out and under the others in the pile to get started on the next one.'s the same one. It must be a copy for me and a copy for the doctor. I sign and date. Slide the form out and under. Next one is the same. Hmm...maybe I just sign a few for my future IUIs so it's done? Whatever, sign and date, slide form out and under. I signed 4 forms before I realized that I was only supposed to fill out the top form and that the rest were for other patients. Man, I felt dumb. We laughed our heads off as I made Mr. Jaguar hide all of the extra forms I completed in my purse.

Dr. PacMan and the nurse came back in and the first words out of Dr. PacMan's mouth are, "Did we forget to leave you a sheet?" I never threw the sheet over me. Three directions to follow, I managed to be successful with one.

The IUI was the quickest procedure ever. The only real down side was it involved a speculum which is never fun, but it was so quick I can't complain. Honestly, the procedure probably lasted twenty seconds. Then they left us there so that I could lay still for ten minutes and let the swimmers get a head start. While we waited, we took pictures of each other to document the day. The camera was so loud and the doors are thin! We were so paranoid that the office staff could hear the camera that we were giggling like crazy.

I go in for a beta on September 8th if I don't get a period. It should be the 5th, but their office is closed that day. I can pee on a stick before that, so I guess that means we'll know sometime in the beginning of September.

How do I feel about all of this? I'm scared, I'm hopeful, I'm scared of feeling hopeful. After the IUI, I ran some errands. I had a $10 coupon that I had to spend at Kohl's by Saturday, so I wandered the store trying to figure out what to buy. And guess where I ended up? The maternity section clearance racks. Because it's all summer stuff and if this works I'd need some maternity shirts for warmer weather, right? I seriously considered buying some. I'm out of my f*ckin' mind. I eventually made myself walk away.

Oh my God! I can't believe I almost forgot to post this! Mr. Jaguar has a friend who also dealt with infertility, but years ago. The two of them were talking earlier in the week and his friend is talking about when he and his wife went through their IUIs and he says that his wife had to kneel on all fours for the procedure!! What??!! That sent me into a giggling yet hysterical panic. Do I want that kids that bad? Would I subject a doctor, a nurse and my husband to that view? I was seriously freaking out. But don't worry, I got to lay on my back. Thank you, Jesus, for small favors.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

$20 copay, some sense of relief

So I had my first appointment with the counselor, Linda. I liked her immediately. Unfortunately, she's not who will see me regularly, she's more of a psychological gatekeeper of sorts. You meet with her for your initial appointment and she determines your level of craziness as well as who is best suited to deal with your craziness. I can't help but imagine her completing a checklist to help determine these things.

Patient: Jacki Jaguar

Reason for pursuing therapy: Infertile while everyone around her is very much not, feels broken, stress management

Level of Craziness (check one):
___ Mild...schedule again within next two weeks
___ Moderate...schedule again within 3-5 days
___ Severe...discourage her from leaving her home until she is more stable
___ Bat shit crazy...distract patient with retractable pen and magnetic paper clip dispenser until the men in white arrive.

Most suitable therapist would be: Beverly because she tolerates patient's pity parties and random crying jags.

Linda let me leave the office at the end of the hour, so y'know, that's promising. Even though the session's purpose was primarily information gathering, it still felt good to just talk about everything and get it out of my head. Plus, Linda gets paid to listen to me so there's no sense of guilt for dominating the conversation and time with talk of my issues. That was actually weird. I try to be very aware in conversation of not focusing only on myself and making sure a chat is balanced. But in therapy, it's about you, so you talk a lot. I had to keep reminding myself that it was okay and that I didn't have to ask the therapist how things are going with her.

A few days later, Beverly called. We have our first session on Wednesday. I hope I'm as comfortable with her as I was with Linda. And I hope she doesn't think I'm more crazy than Linda does. If she hands me anything retractable, I'm making a run for the door.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Always an over-achiever

Dr. PacMan whisks into the office.

"Hi. How have you been feeling?"

"Hi Dr. PacMan. I'm okay. I'm still really exhausted on the injectables. I spend a lot of time on the couch. I'm hoping I don't have to take anymore."

"And are you still having pain?"

"Yes. I hope it's because the Follistim is working."

"Let's see what we've got."

I hand him my four tickets to get on the infertility roller coaster.

Feet swing up, head drops back, staring at the familiar ceiling tiles. Part of me doesn't want to look at the ultrasound screen. It's a let down when follicles that look big to me are disappointingly small, but I'm weak. I hopefully shift my gaze right.

Dr. PacMan ponders my left ovary. As per usual, I have six gajillion follicles. Nothing very big. I grip the edge of the exam table as he moves over to the right ovary. Ultrasounds hurt a lot now that my ovaries are stimulated. Dr. PacMan is grimacing and making worried sounds as he studies the right ovary. I dig my fingers into the table and try to breathe through the pain as he applies extra pressure to examine a follicle more closely.

"Hmm...this right worries many large follicles..." he mutters while he continues poking me and I continue white knuckling the exam table.

I look beyond the ceiling to the heavens. Jesus, please don't let him cancel this cycle. Don't let all of this have been for nothing. Jesus, I'm not even praying to get pregnant right now. I'm just asking to finish out the cycle. Amen.

I sit up and the doctor says it looks like my follicles are ready. Thank you, Jesus! But then Dr. PacMan shoots me his most serious face and brings up the topic I fear the most.

"Will you and your husband consider selective reduction if you have multiples?"

"We've discussed it. We're praying we don't have to make that kind of decision but, yes, we would consider it for the safety of the babies and myself."

(I should mention here that I debated even posting about this. I'm so conflicted about it and it's such a heated topic. I don't want to even think about it. But this blog is my honest place, so here I am typing. We'll see if I actually post it.)

"OK, good. I'm glad you and your husband have already discussed it. If you had said you refuse to consider it, I would have cancelled your cycle. You will likely release several eggs and multiples is a serious concern." Umm...Jesus, that could be too much of a good thing. Ease up for me just a smidge?

So what's my line??? How do I even respond to the doctor's statement? All I can come up with is swear words. Dr. PacMan keeps talking. He says a bunch of stuff, but one thing sticks out.

"You'd be a great candidate for IVF."

How do I respond to that? Thank you?? Is it a compliment? A sign of things to come? If this fails, do we do another cycle of injectables or is it too risky that I will conceive a litter? I don't ask any of these questions but they are reverberating in my head.

And so, on Friday morning, Mr. Jaguar and I will be in the office. After thirteen months of trying, we've made it to IUI #1.

Why I have a cute new henley shirt

It's finally happening. Tomorrow morning, we will actually have a real shot at trying to conceive. Here's how it all came about...

I started my injectables on the 8th after two needles and an ultrasound determined that it was go time. After eight more needles, it was determined on the 13th that I should double my dose. After ten more needles, follicles had grown to a respectable enough size. Mr. Jaguar gave me my shot of Ovidrel last night and tomorrow morning, it's on. Twenty one total needles does not impress me one bit. My poor little thighs (actually not so little really) are tender. Everybody says, "Oh, the needles aren't so bad." For me, the anxiety about the needles got worse as the days went on. They wore me down emotionally. And while they could be much worse, I wouldn't classify them as good. Getting them every day was tough. By the end, I was desperate to be done with them. The doctors and the books don't really mention that.

The insides of my arms are currently very....heroin chic. I always either have a new, purple bruise or an old, yellow one or, even better, a combination of the two. It's hot, let me tell you. My thighs are a match only not as severe but I don't subject the public to my thighs so it's different. The bruises are just ridiculous. The doctors and the books don't really mention that. I was forced to buy a super cute, kelly green, half sleeve henley to cover up the arms. What choice did I have? None.

I can't write this without mentioning my brave ovaries. They've been putting in countless hours at the office. Right now, they feel like they are about the size of cue balls. It's quite extraordinary. My stomach is disgustingly bloated. It's uncomfortable to push my pee out because everything is so tender down there. And there are twinges- sudden sharp pains down there all the time. The doctors and the books don't really mention that.

The medication wiped me out. I could barely finish a trip to the grocery store. I literally wanted to lay down on the soft, downy mattress of the bread loaves shelf and just take a nap. I'm so grateful that this cycle was during the summer so that my work day was shorter. Otherwise, I would've been fired for napping during math class. And then at night, I had insomnia. The doctors and the books don't really mention that.

With all of that said, I'd do it again. I hope and pray that I don't have to, but I'd do it again if that's what it takes to become a mom.